At the end of next year 2022, football fans from around the globe will converge once again for the biggest football showpiece on planet Earth – in the best setting ever. The compact nature of the World Cup in Qatar will ensure supporters of all 32 participating teams are always within reach of all the 8 magnificent stadiums.
While the first World Cup to be hosted in the middle East might feel a long way off for football supporters, 136 out of 900 qualifiers have been played, and the competition infrastructure can be seen evolving rapidly in and around the Capital City of Doha. The Khalifa International, Al Janoub, Education City, Al Rayyan and Al Bayt have all been inaugurated and set to host the World, with the remaining three set to be ready before the tournament.
It must also be stated at this point that brand-new metro lines have been made available to transport fans. All of these infrastructures were tested at the last two FIFA Club World Cups. New training sites and roads are being constructed, the airport massively expanded and accommodations are being made available with the aim of coping with high demand.
With all these facilities and infrastructures being put in place for fans, questions have been asked about the viability of the tournament for football fans amidst COVID-19 pandemic.
When the pandemic emerged at the end of 2019 into the beginning of 2020, few could have imagined that the crisis would stretch into year 2021, yet it keeps affecting everyday life.
Several public health protocols have since been introduced across the globe to curb the spread of the deadly virus and, while football – like many other sporting activities like making a skybet RAB – ground to a halt last year, matches are now being played without fans in attendance.
Some nations of the world have even tried allowing a limited number of fans into stadiums to watch matches, but the situation is still delicate as COVID-19 vaccines are being distributed and there are very few certainties.
Not even the World’s largest competitions have been able to escape the negative impact of COVID-19, with league matches thrown into disruption last year, while the European Nations Cup 2020 was postponed until this year 2021 and at the moment, there is no guarantee that supporters will be present at matches venues.
It’s still uncertain if fans will be allowed at match venues of the FIFA World Cup that holds at the end of 2020, but there is a strong sense of optimism among Local organizers that fans will be able to enter match venues.
In fact, President of World football ruling body, FIFA, Gianni Infantino is confident that stadiums will be packed with supporters for the competition, which is scheduleto start on November 21, 2022 and ends on December 18, 2022.
Indeed, the Golf State hosted the FIFA Club World Cup earlier in 2021, with fans allowed to attend matches and game venues operating at only 30% capacity.
About 12,000 socially distanced football supporters were permitted in the 40,000-seater stadiums of Education City Stadium and Al-Rayyan Stadium for matches.
Strict COVID-19 protocols were put in place by local authority in Qatar for those wishing to attend matches, including vaccination and quarantine requirements.
The experience of organizing the Club World Cup, though smaller, gives the organizers an opportunity to test their readiness to implement COVID-19 measures.